Interview Question: "What Makes You a Good Candidate for This Position?"

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 24, 2022 | Published March 12, 2020

Updated May 24, 2022

Published March 12, 2020

Related: Why Do You Want This Job? 3 Steps to the Best Answer

Taylor shares his strategy for creating a compelling 2-3 minute answer for this critical interview question.

Interviewers often ask candidates a few thought-provoking questions. Candidates should prepare in advance to answer these questions effectively and confidently. One example is the question, "What makes you a good candidate for this position?"

In this article, we explain why interviewers ask this question, provide steps to prepare your answer, give example answers and offer tips for an effective response.

Why do employers ask what makes you a good candidate?

Hiring managers often ask, "What makes you a good candidate for this position?" to see if you are aware of how your unique skills, experience and education align with the position's responsibilities and duties. Candidates should be ready to explain why they're a good fit for the position and organization, describing specific accomplishments and distinctive characteristics that will add value to the company.

Sometimes, hiring managers may ask this question in a different form. Here are other examples:

  • "Why are you a good fit for this job?"

  • "What sets you apart as a unique candidate?"

  • "What makes you the best applicant?"

  • "Explain why you are the ideal candidate."

Some interviewers may not ask the question at all, but explaining why you are the best person for the job is still something they will want to know.

Related: Smart Answers to Interview Questions

How to answer "What makes you a good candidate for this position?"

Your response should be a sales pitch to the hiring manager about yourself. Use these steps to craft an effective response:

  1. Determine your strengths.

  2. Identify the company's needs.

  3. Create your shortlist.

  4. Write your pitch.

  5. Practice your answer.

  6. Respond confidently.

1. Determine your strengths

Depending on your experience and the qualifications for the job, you can determine your unique strengths for the position using examples from the following categories:

  • Education

  • Personality traits or soft skills

  • Hard skills

  • Accomplishments

  • Experience

For example, if you are a recent college graduate, focus on the value your recent education will bring to the company. Think about any new industry knowledge you obtained in your program and any research you completed. If you are an experienced industry member, consider the skills you've developed through your years of experience.

Related: What are your greatest strengths? Tips + Example Answer

Jenn explains what interviewers ask the question “What are your greatest strengths”, strategies for crafting a strong answer plus an example.

2. Identify the company's needs

Look at the job description and research the company. See how your specific skills and qualifications align with both the daily duties of the position and the mission and goals of the organization overall. Often you can find the company's mission on its website.

3. Create your shortlist

Review your list of strengths and compare them to the company's needs. Create a shortlist of three or four outstanding qualities that demonstrate your unique qualifications for the position and the value you'll bring to the organization.

4. Write your pitch

Using your shortlist of outstanding strengths, write a concise summary you can share with the hiring manager in the interview. It should sound natural, so make sure the writing reflects your speech patterns.

5. Practice your answer

Practice responding naturally to the question. You want to know how you'll respond in advance, but your spoken answer shouldn't sound unnatural and rehearsed. Have a friend to ask you "What makes you a good candidate for the position?" in a few different ways and vary your answers, making sure you explain your main points each time.

6. Respond confidently

In the interview, be confident in your response. Remember, the interviewer may not ask you "What makes you a good candidate for the position?" in those exact words, if at all. It's still a great idea to share why you're the best candidate so the hiring manager knows what unique qualifications set you apart from other applicants.

Related: 15 Questions To Ask a Hiring Manager in Your Interview (And 10 You Shouldn't)

Example answers

Use these example answers to help structure your own response to the question "What makes you a good candidate for this position?":

  • Example 1: Executive assistant

  • Example 2: Computer programmer

  • Example 3: Nurse

  • Example 4: Lawyer

  • Example 5: Teacher

Example 1: Executive assistant

"I have worked hard in previous jobs to develop specific and necessary soft skills for this position. I am a highly organized person, which makes me a great choice to manage an executive's calendar. I am extremely personable, so I feel confident handling phone calls and email correspondence. I am also very adaptable. If the executive has a sudden change of plans, I will quickly and confidently handle all the updates to their schedule."

Example 2: Computer programmer

"I have a strong set of skills that uniquely qualify me for this job. I'm well-versed in a wide range of computer programming languages. I recently completed professional development on the latest updates to Python. I'm considered an expert source controller, and I lead a training for my colleagues in my last position on best practices for source control. I'm also good at writing tests for my code, so the company won't have to hire an outside tester which will save time and money."

Example 3: Nurse

"I'm an experienced registered nurse with a number of professional accomplishments that make me a great fit for the job. In my last position, I wrote a grant proposal and received funding to complete research on proactive nursing practices. I was also the nurse liaison to the hospital board tasked with communicating the nursing staff's needs to the hospital's leadership. Since I started my career, I try to volunteer at least one day a month at the free clinic downtown to help those in need and assess how the field of nursing can improve proactive measures. I feel these experiences and accomplishments will help me move the nursing staff toward a more proactive patient approach."

Example 4: Lawyer

"I'm an excellent candidate for a partner-track position at this firm. I have years of varied experience that will provide the firm with unique insight. After graduating from law school, I clerked for a federal judge for a year. After that, I joined a prestigious over-seas law firm as a contract attorney. I quickly moved into an associate position, where I have been honing my litigation skills for the last five years. I am a fast learner and dedicated to my clients. My experience working for a judge and with a diverse population overseas will add value to the firm."

Example 5: Teacher

"As a teacher, I believe my own education is a valuable asset to my classroom work. After completing my bachelor's degree, I worked in an under-performing school district for three years before returning to school. I earned a master's degree during which I wrote my thesis on low-cost interventions to deter drop-outs. I went back into the classroom full time and spent the last five years completing my Ph.D. while teaching. My dissertation is an in-depth study of the benefits of external supports on improving graduation rates in low-income communities. I can use my research and knowledge to improve student outcomes at this school."

Related: 25 Questions To Ask in a Final Interview

Tips for answering "What makes you a good candidate for this position?"

Keep these tips in mind as you respond to the question "What makes you a good candidate for this position?":

  • Prepare in advance. Know what skills, accomplishments, experiences or education you plan to cite ahead of your interview. Practice explaining them prior to your actual interview so your answer is clear.

  • Give concrete examples. When possible, give concrete examples of your skills to demonstrate how you'll bring value to the company.

  • Tie your response to company goals. Mention specifically how you will improve the company with your unique qualifications.

  • Focus on yourself. Your response should show why you are the best candidate. Avoid mentioning other candidates or why you are better than they are.

  • Speak confidently. Confidence will demonstrate your certainty that you are the right candidate to hire.

  • Be honest. Speak honestly about your qualifications and skills.

Related: How To Use the Star Method To Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

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